Rain comes to parts of Russia’s key wheat regions

MOSCOW, June 1 (Reuters) – Rain came to parts of Russia’s southern regions on the weekend, easing risks for key areas for wheat exports via the Black Sea a month before harvesting starts.
Last week, hot weather and a lack of rain hit crops across Russia’s main wheat producing and exporting zone that includes Krasnodar, Rostov and Volgograd. But that changed on the weekend.
“There were strong rains in (Russia’s) south,” said Anna Strashnaya, head of the agricultural forecasting department at state weather forecaster Hydrometcentre.
“All in all, we don’t see major problems, the forecast for winter grains is not bad,” she told Reuters.

In the Southern Federal District, part of the Krasnodar and Volgograd regions saw rain on May 29-30, a map on Hydrometcentre showed. Rain also fell on part of the Stavropol and Rostov regions, according to an agriculture company whose assets are based there.
Light rains are also expected in Stavropol and Krasnodar this week, according to the forecaster’s map.
There was also hail in part of the Krasnodar region that damaged maize (corn) and soybean plantings, Strashnaya said. The affected area has yet to be determined but is unlikely to be large.
Despite recent rains, SovEcon agriculture consultancy said on Monday it had kept its 2015 grain crop forecast unchanged at 95 million tonnes, including 54 million tonnes of wheat.
Russia’s Agriculture Ministry sees the 2015 grain crop at 100 million tonnes, up five million tonnes from a near-record level in 2014.
However, not every region has experienced much-needed rain: a small farm in the southern part of the Volgograd region, which was praying for rain last week, has still not felt any, an agronomist, Pyotr Golov, told Reuters.

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